THE INTER-WAR PERIOD 1926
The Greek, Lieutenant General Theodoros Pangalos was a soldier, politician and dictator who declared a state of emergency on the 3rd January 1926 and assumed dictatorial powers. A distinguished staff officer and an anti-royalist, Pangalos played a leading role in the September 1922 revolt that deposed King Constantine I and in the establishment of the Second Hellenic Republic. In June 1925 he had staged a bloodless coup and his assumption of power was recognised by the National Assembly which named him Prime Minister. At a rigged election on the 4th April 1926 Pangalos had himself elected President. His political and diplomatic inability soon became apparent. On the economic front Pangalos attempted to devalue the currency by ordering paper notes cut in half. He conceded too many rights to the Yugoslav trade in Thessaloniki but, worst of all, he embroiled Greece in the so-called War of the Stray Dog, harming Greece’s already strained international relations. Soon many of the officers who had helped him come to power decided that he had to be removed. On the 29th August 1926 a counter-coup led by General Georgios Kondylis deposed Pangalos and Pavlos Kountouriotis returned as president. Pangalos was imprisoned for two years in the Izzeddin Fortress, and after his release he never regained the popularity he had before the coup and never again played a role in Greek politics.
In occupied Germany the British and Belgian troops began to leave Cologne on the 31st January 1926. At the end of the Great War, French, British, Belgian and United States troops occupied the Rhineland. This was agreed as part of the Armistice signed on the 11th November 1918. The details, including zones of occupation, were worked out by the French Marshal Ferdinand Foch and the British and Belgians were allocated the city of Cologne and the surrounding areas. British troops first crossed the border into Germany on the 2nd December 1918. The occupation was originally intended to last for fifteen years with the number of Allied troops reduced in stages after five and ten years. However, some British troops stayed on in Weisbaden until the 30th June 1930.
The Treaty of Berlin was signed by Germany and the Soviet Union on the 24th April 1926, which pledged neutrality if either country was attacked by a third party within the next five years. The treaty was signed in Berlin on the 29th June 1926, and it went into effect on the same day.
In Paris on the 25th May 1926, Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Vasilyevich Petliura was assassinated by Russian Jew Sholom Schwartzbard when he pulled out a gun and shot him five times. Petliura was a politician and journalist who had been Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Army and the President of the Ukrainian National Republic. He led Ukraine’s struggle for independence following the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917. Following the Russian Revolution, and the outbreak of hostilities between the Ukraine and Soviet Russia, Petliura lost most of his army to the Bolsheviks and by early 1924 had settled in Paris. During his years in exile in Paris he established and edited the Ukrainian language newspaper Tryzub promoting Ukrainian culture. He was also head of government-in-exile of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. After hearing that Petliura was relocated in Paris, Schwartzbard plotted his assassination as he blamed Petliura for the loss of his family during the 1919 pogroms
Germany joined the League of Nations on the 8th September 1926 following the Locarno Conference of October 1925. The conference consisted of a series of treaties that allowed Germany to become a member of the League Council, for which it had previously applied. In 1924, the newly appointed foreign minister of Germany Gustav Stresemann adopted a new policy toward the League of Nations which previous governments had rejected. The rejection had been on the grounds that the victors of the Great War created difficulties in order to suppress the defeated Germans.
In Japan, Hirohito became the 124th Emperor on the 25th December 1926, following the death of his father Taisho. At the start of his reign, Japan was already one of the great powers. They had the ninth largest economy in the world, the third largest navy and was one of four permanent members of the League of Nations. However, the first part of Hirohito’s reign took place against a background of financial crisis and increasing military power within the government. The Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy held veto power over the formation of the cabinet.